PM orders end to face masks for speakers at govt meetings

PM orders end to face masks for speakers at govt meetings

The government has waived the face-mask rule for speakers during parliament sessions and meetings, although MPs are only allowed to take off their masks when speaking.

Published on the Royal Gazette website on Saturday, the announcement -- signed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and issued under the power of the emergency decree -- comes into effect today and includes local administration meetings.

The announcement waives the requirement for participants to wear a mask when addressing those assembled for reasons of practicality, according to the announcement.

Even though this procedural change is intended mainly for the coming House debates in the new parliamentary session due to begin May 22, it also applies to meetings nationwide and will remain in place until further notice.

Apisamai Srirangson, an assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), insisted the main regulation requiring the public to wear a face mask when in public has not been relaxed and only specific exceptions are being made for speakers at some important non-government meetings.

"These exceptions will only apply during the debate itself and only when a participant is speaking," said Dr Apisamai.

While these exceptions apply all the way down to the local level, she nevertheless encouraged the continued use of online platforms instead of physical attendance to avoid unnecessary risk.

All other Covid-19 control measures apply during administrative gatherings, and face masks must be worn by everyone present when not directly addressing the room, she said.

Fines and legal action will follow warnings for those who fail to heed the rules, she said.

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